September Dates in Women's History
by Susan G. Butruille
- September was the month of the ancient Greek Eleusinian rites, honoring the cycle of life and the ancient Divine Trinity -- Demeter (Goddess of the Earth), Kore (Goddess of the Underworld), and the child Iaccus.
- First Monday in September Labor Day, first observed on September 5, 1882 in New York City, had its roots in the labor exploitation of the Industrial Revolution. In 1887, Oregon became the first state officially to recognize Labor Day.
- September 1 Mediterranean Festival of First Fruits.
- September 2 Tibetan Democracy Day, celebrated by the Tibetan community in exile.
- September 2, 1838 Birth of Queen Lili'uokalani, last sovereign of
Hawaii, held under house arrest and forced from her throne by Americans intent on exploiting Hawaiian exports. In 1993, the U.S. Congress formally apologized to Hawaii for overthrowing its government.
- September 3, 1914 Birth of Dixy Lee Ray, marine biologist, member of the Atomic Energy Commission, and Washington State Governor, elected in 1976.
- September 5 Labor Day, first observed on September 5, 1882 in New York City and led by Irishman Peter McGuire, had its roots in the labor exploitation of the Industrial Revolution. In 1887, Oregon became the first state officially to recognize Labor Day.
- September 6 Day of Tonan, or Tonantzin, Aztecan Mother Goddess whose shrine was on Tepeyac Hill in what is now Mexico City. Here the Virgin of Guadalupe, with roots in the veneration of Tonantzin, is said to have appeared to indigenous Saint Juan Diego in 1531.
- September 6, 1860 Birth of Jane Addams, once known as the Most Dangerous Woman in America. Addams was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1931), first president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and founder of Chicago's Hull House, part of the forward-looking and still-needed Settlement House Movement for immigrants.
- September 6, 1870 Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyoming celebrated her 70th birthday by voting -- the first woman officially to cast a ballot
in a U.S. national election.
- September 8 Feast of the nativity of the Virgin Mary, observed by
Christians since the mid-fifth century. It is the major national holiday on the island of Malta.
- September 8, 1932 Birth of Patsy Cline, country-western singer who broke gender barriers and was one of the first cw singers to cross over to pop music.
- September 9, 2015 Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch in history.
- September 9, 1834 A mob attacked Prudence Crandall's school in Canterbury, Connecticut, where she taught black women. Previously jailed for breaking the local law against teaching "colored persons," Crandall finally was forced to close her school. Now the Prudence Crandall House is a museum that highlights black history and women's history.
- September 11, 1877 Birth of Rosika Schwimmer, Hungarian-born pacifist,
suffrage leader, and a founder of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Campaign for World Government (1937). She was
denied U.S. citizenship in 1929 because she refused to pledge to bear arms in defense of the US.
- September 12, 1867 Birth of Irene Joliot-Curie (daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie),
Doctor of Science, Joliot-Curie was a nurse radiographer during World War I, Commissioner for Atomic Energy, advocate for women, and co-winner with her husband, Frédéric Joliot, of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- September 12, 1992 Mae Jemison, inspired by Sally Ride (see September 30), became the first African-American woman in space.
- September 14, 1964 Helen Keller, author, lecturer, political activist, and the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of arts degree, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon Johnson.
- September 14, 1975 Elizabeth Ann Seton, founder of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, became the first American to be canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
- September 14, 1728 Birth of Mercy Otis Warren, who thumbed her nose at
the British and wrote much of the history of the Revolutionary War. Warren's husband supported her writing, which was unusual for her time.
- September 14, 1879 Birth of Margaret Sanger, who thumbed her nose at the Comstock Laws (forbidding distribution of birth control information), and landed in jail. She founded what is now Planned Parenthood.
- September 15 begins Hispanic Heritage Month.
- September 16 Mexican Independence Day, commemorates the 1910
revolution ending Spanish dictatorship.
- September 17, 1179 Death of Hildegard von Bingen, 12th Century German abbess, composer, poet, scientist, mystic, author, and advisor to popes and kings.
- September 18, 1889 Jane Addams, and Ellen Gates Starr opened Hull House in Chicago to help immigrants.
- September 20, 1975 Susan Butruille hosted a victory celebration in Dubois, Wyoming to honor one of her heroes, Billie Jean King, who that day defeated Bobby ("no broad can beat me") Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match.
- September 21 International Day of Peace established in 1981in an unanimous resolution by the U.N. General Assembly.
- September 22, 1692 Martha Corey and seven other convicted "witches" were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts following a trial presided over by
the state's lieutenant governor. Eleven people -- mostly women -- already had been murdered as witches after being fingered by hysterical girls. Some years later trial judges allowed as they had made a mistake.
- September 23, 1838 Birth of Victoria Woodhull, first woman, with her sister, Tennessee, to be members of the New York Stock Exchange, first woman to start a weekly newspaper, and first woman to run for U.S. President, with the Equal Rights Party.
- September 25 Day of Sedna, Sea Goddess of the Arctic Inuit people.
- September 25, 1847 Birth of Vinnie Ream, who, as a teenager, became a prolific sculptor. She was 17 when she received a $10,000 commission to sculpt the exquisite statue of President Lincoln that now stands in the US Capitol Rotunda. Her marriage to Army Lt. Richard Hoxie ended Vinnie Ream's artistic career, at Hoxie's insistence. A replica of Vinnie Ream's "Sappho" stands as a memorial to her in Arlington National Cemetery.
- September 25, 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
- September 26, 1971 Representative Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress, announced her candidacy for U.S. President. Her motto, and title of her autobiography, was "Unbossed and Unbought."
- September 28 Celebration of the birth day of Confucius in the fifth
century. His followers used his mystique and teachings to oppress women
throughout China and beyond. "Confucius say": a woman first must obey her
father, then her husband, then her son in old age. Apparently Confucius'
followers chose not to heed another Confucius saying: "What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do unto others."
- September 30, 1983 Sally Ride rode into space -- the first American woman to do so.
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